Page:Rolland - People's Theater.djvu/86

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"I should like to see this treated by a man of genius after the manner of Shakespeare, who would not have failed, had Jeanne d'Arc been English, to make a great patriotic play out of it; the celebrated shepherdess would have become for us the patroness of war, as Saint Genevieve is of peace. Such a play would be performed only in national crises, in the presence of the people, just as Mahomet's standard is displayed in Constantinople. And I have no doubt that the sight of her innocence, her services, her misfortunes, and the cruelty of her enemies and horror of her martyrdom, our people could not restrain themselves from crying out: 'War! War against the English!'"

In 1789 Marie-Joseph Chénier dedicated his Charles IX ou l'École des Rois "To the French Nation," with these words:

"Frenchmen and fellow-citizens: accept the dedication of this patriotic tragedy. I dedicate the work of a free man to a free nation. … Your scene ought to change with the others that have just changed. A theater in which there are only petty females and slaves is no longer suited to a nation of men and of citizens. There was one thing lacking to your dramatic poets; it was not genius, and not subjects, but an audience. (December 15, 1789.)"

And again he says:

"The theater is an agent of public education. … Without her men of letters, France would stand where Spain stands at this moment. … We have